A new lobby group has been created to drive more widespread adoption of the new MPEG-DASH (Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP) standard, already adopted by a number of European hybrid platforms, including the UK’s Freeview HD and the French next-generation DTT norm, TNT 2.0. It is also expected to be included in the UK hybrid DTT standard, YouView.
The DASH Promoters Group (DASH-PG) has been created following the ratification of the MPEG-DASH standard in November 2011. The idea behind the standard is to define a universal delivery format for Internet, based on the ‘best elements’ of proprietary streaming technologies such as Adobe Dynamic Streaming for Flash, Apple HTTP Adaptive Streaming and Microsoft Smooth Streaming.
Adaptive streaming is a client-controlled technology which works by adapting, in real-time, to the network bandwidth available for a video-stream without the need for ‘re-buffering’. Thus, if the available bandwidth suddenly reduces, the client drops to a lower resolution by calling on a lower bit-rate stream. This may degrade the picture, but side-steps the problem that the higher bit-rate stream may stutter or freeze while waiting for extra bits to be received. When bandwidth returns to normal, the client automatically switches back to the higher bit-rate stream.
Adaptive bit-rate is regarded as a key technology required to deliver a good quality of experience to consumers accessing OTT video, where the IP network is unmanaged.
The membership of the DASH Promoters Group represents a significant cross section of major players across the multimedia and video delivery value chain. Microsoft, Netflix and Qualcomm are the founding members. Other companies currently include: Adobe, AEG Digital Media, Akamai, BuyDRM, Digital Rapids, Digital TV Labs, Dolby, EBU-UER, Elemental, Envivio, Ericsson, Harmonic, Intertrust, NDS, Packet Ship, Path1, RGB Networks, Samsung, Thomson, University of Klagenfurt and ZiXi.
In addition to promoting broad adoption of DASH, the Promoters Group will focus on aligning ongoing DASH standards development, promoting the use of common profiles across industry organizations, and facilitating interoperability tests and plug-fests to demonstrate the usability and completeness of the DASH standard.
To learn more about the DASH Promoters Group, click here.